My recent poll showed a strong interest in cotton prints from the time period, 1900-1950. So tonight I would like to talk about Shaker Grays--1890-1940.
Their popularity began with the advent of a good synthetic black fabric dye. (The search had been on since the discovery of the first aniline dye, mauveine, in 1856) These prints, fine black lines and figures on a white ground--the black and white mixture appeared to be gray-- were known as Shaker Grays, a name derived from the practical dress goods of the Shaker community (woolens woven from their sheep--assorted shades of white and black), as well as Mourning and Half Mourning prints.
These were a serviceable type of print that did not show the soil. You could readily find them in the Sears catalog up until 1924/25. After that date there was a 'sea change' in the color palette of the cotton prints. In the 1926 catalog, the pastel prints, a small 'flutter' had been available in previous catalogs, were suddenly very popular. The selection of Shaker Gray style prints had been drastically reduced. They continued to sell through the 1930s.